There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

gteorq8rcPoor fella. He thinks he’s getting skinned — you know, have the skin being taken from his back. But that just isn’t so. This proverb or idiom has nothing to do with a cat or getting skinned. So, what does it actually mean?

When there is more than one way to skin a cat there are more than one way to accomplish a goal. Take, for instance, that you want to have a college degree but you have no money to acquire the degree, and you do not have the grades or the athletic prowess to gain a scholarship. You simply want to go to school. What to do, what to do?

There are many ways to follow the path to get a college degree. You could work full-time and take a course or two at a time, but this should take you a very, very long time to gain your desire. You could work part-time and take three or four courses at a time; now, you will reach your goal faster than the first option. You could work for a corporation that pays for your classes as you work for them (I did this when I worked on my master’s degree). You could join the military and take classes as you work for the government or take part in the benefits they offer after so many years of service. You could apply for scholarships that are seldom tapped into or apply for a grant. Of course, there are also loans, but then you end up paying for that degree for years to come.

Also, today there are a myriad of ways to obtain the bachelor’s degree. You can get the credits traditionally by going to a classroom. Then, there are online courses through the college close to you, or there are entire degrees that you could earn in the comfort of your home. Further along in your pursuit of the almighty degree, you might come across a college where you get credit for life experience.

In other words, there are many ways to achieve your goal: there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

If you think about it, there are many ways to obtain most goals — from dieting to exercising to saving money to traveling. It’s all in how you go about it, how you look at the problem to find a solution.

Until next week…have a great weekend…



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Take By Storm

tree-and-storm-2I don’t mind storms. Actually, I like them although the crack of thunder and the bolt of lightening will make me jump. It’s one of my natural reactions. To me, it’s the same as the knee jerk when that spot on the knee is tapped — the leg’s reflexes simply react. Natural.


You could “weather a storm” because this means that you get through a crises or hard times, and sometimes a really bad storm is a crises. But it means more than a storm, it means any crises or hard time. For instance, we may “weather a storm” when we become unemployed and look for a job and find one before the unemployment check comes to a screeching halt. Whew! we weathered that storm. We made it through the bad time, the crises.

When you take something by storm, though, it has nothing to do with storms or going through hard times — and it has everything to do with success. Yes. Success. Milly went into the branch office and took it by storm. She was the super hero, the savior of the day. She was suddenly, overwhelmingly successful at the office. Every once in awhile in life, we cross paths with the super hero, the person who takes life by storm, who is suddenly successful.

On the opposite end of this idiom is a sinister meaning, take by storm can also means to capture a place by a sudden, violent attack. This brings to mind the term “stormtrooper”, and not the one you may recognize in the StarWars tales. I am thinking about other real and dangerous stormtroopers.


Long ago and far away, the Germans created a new way of fighting a war — they started stormtroopers specialist soldiers for their army in World War I. What did they do? They surprised and assaulted the men who were in the trenches. The term can also be translated from the German language as “Shock Troops.” Yes, I believe it would be a shock.

Put into perspective, though, StarWars‘ Stormtroopers may not have been around if the Germans did not tag the term. Maybe they would have been called the Soldiers in White. Who knows.

I would rather keep with the less sinister meaning of this idiom, although soldiers do come to my mind when I hear this phrase. Today, though, I will imagine someone taking the bull by the horn and take life by storm.

Until Friday…have a good week…


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Stink Eye vs. Evil Eye

I had never really heard of stink eye until someone asked me to write about it. I understood what it was, thinking more of Popeye’s expressionpopeye-1 than people in every day life using it. But, I was dead wrong! People use it all the time, and I was simply unaware of its name. I called it “the look” or “the eye”, meaning you better shape up. As I researched this facial gesture, I found that Michelle Obama used it toward her husband when he was taking selfies at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. In fact, she uses the “stink eye” quite a bit, as the news named she has used it on former House Speaker John Boehner and France’s First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy to name a couple more.

Really, though, what is it?


Remember the look Kramer used to give on TV’s Seinfeld? You knew what that look meant.

Sometimes people call this look a “dirty look” where it has nothing to do with being “dirty” but you better believe that no word is needed when this look is given.

The dictionary said it could be a glare. But it is more than a glare, and not as malevolent as the glare of what may be termed as the “evil eye”. You do not want anyone to give you the “evil eye”. It may look like a “stink eye” or a “dirty look” but the “evil eye”  is meant to cause damage to a person, either physically as in an injury or wishing bad luck on the person. There’s a lot of anger associated with the “evil eye”, and a lot of disapproval associated with the “stink eye”.

Either way, just to be on the safe side, I thought I would tell you about the “Nazar Boncugu” eye.evil-eye

This little gem is to protect its owner from evil spirits and jealousy. Actually, the “evil eye” has been around about 5000 years and is mentioned in most religions of the world, and still thought true to this day in many parts of the world.

Some time ago, I made jewelry and I have many beads that have “the eye”. Now I know what “the eye” means. Also, a former Turkish airline, “Fly Air”, used the “Nazar” eye on its tail. The eye wards off evil spirits as we walk among others or fly the (un)friendly skies.

Something's watching...

Maybe I should keep a bunch of these amulets around for when people give me the stink eye. I will never know what the underlying meaning is when I am given “that look” and with this little gem, I will be protected.

Ah….superstitions. Are they real?



Until next week….have a great weekend…


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Variety Is the Spice of Life

I can’t say everyone (because I know of people who do not like to shake “things” up in their life), so I will say most people like a little if not a lot of variety in their life.

I know I do.

This idiom/phrase was brought to my attention while I was in S. Carolina for the Christmas holiday. Really don’t remember what led us to discussing this idiom, but it was my nephew Jeff who brought it up when he asked if it was the variety that spices life or was it the spices that brought variety into our lives. Ah, a play on words.

I would have to say it is the variety of experiencing new adventures that spices or flavors our lives. At least with me. I have never been one to only do one task in life. If I am writing, I am researching and while that is physically going on, my mind is whirling on which trip to take next, which project to start next. Throw in a phone call from a friend, stage tickets, movie plans, places to explore, people to meet and talk with, exercises to do, and an entire hosts of ideas to explore to round out my life. Yes, I like variety, and to never sit still; although; spending an enormous time at the computer, I do sit still. And all while I am sitting, I keep remembering Ernest Hemingway’s quote that I heard — to not sit too long because it makes your ass wide. Oh, I need to get up and do some bends!!! And that is just the beginning of variety.

cooking-spicesBut what about the play on words — is it spices that bring variety/flavor to life.

The flavors of life — the aphrodisiacs of youth, the lavenders of soothing body and mind, the hot peppers of dance, and the sages, rosemary and thyme of song.

There are so many flavors of life.

Maybe, just maybe, if we think long and hard about the play on words, spices can bring variety to our life if we understand that the variety is brought on by the flavors of life, but I would rather leave the play on words to the flavors of food and how the different flavors when using spices can bring a variety of tastes to our buds.

And that leads me to the original saying, penned in 1785 by English poet William Cowpen in his poem “The Task,” when he writes:

“Variety is the very spice of life. That gives it all its flavor.”

I will choose his penned words that “Variety is the spice of life” as I follow my dreams and aspirations of this life to make my life interesting and my experiences varied and longstanding in the recesses of my mind.

How do you shake up your life to give it some variety?

Until Friday…have a great week.


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flew, flue, flu — homophones and idioms, Oh My!

Okay, I must confess — I flew the coop. Didn’t tell anyone I was leaving and escaped to South Carolina for the holidays. Had a great time, and will show and tell about Hilton Head and other holiday places on my other blog — Chapter 14’s Journey, which is on Google+. But for the moment, here, on my word blog with WordPress, I have to tell you the story about flew.

The night before I was to leave Columbia, S. Carolina, I took my family out to eat. Since we all enjoy Asian food, one of their favorite restaurant is named Miyabi’s, and it is one of those restaurants where strangers sit together around a table and a chef cooks before your eyes. It was great. So, me being me, who talks to anyone who will talk back, I struck up a conversation with the guy to my right. We started talking about the distance and time between S. Carolina and Tampa. I told him it takes me (on a good day without traffic delays) about 9-10 He told me he could make it to Miami in less than 9 hours. I came back with, “you didn’t drive, you flew”. He laughed and admitted he drove fast.

And that is what prompted this blog post. If we were from a different country, or if English was our second language, that simple comment would have insinuated that you did not drive a car between S. Carolina and Tampa, you flew, as in an airplane. Which is not true at all! It really means that the driver was doing some heavy duty speeding to get from point A to point B.

Which brought me to telling you that I flew the coop. Here, flew means to escape. Now, coop could mean where they keep the chickens, or it could mean jail (as the word was used in the late 18th century), but for me, it simply means I got away and didn’t tell my readers I was going. It could also mean I left in a hurry, but either way you want to look at it, I got away.

It seems that my time away flew by. Isn’t that always the truth when you are enjoying yourself. There is never enough time. time-fliesAnd really, where does that time go? I do know it never comes back, so I savor the moment. But time does not fly when someone flies off the handle. Oh, I do not like when someone gets angry, when I witness someone who flew off the handle.

Think about that. Have you ever seen anyone fly off the handle? First of all, what handle? And then, who can fly? How in the world do people from other countries figure out what we are meaning by these phrases we use?

Then, with this word, which is a homophone (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings), we have flew, which could mean the past tense of “to fly” or it could mean to increase speed or it could mean to escape or it could mean to become angry (depending on which phrase you use as I have outlined above). Then, there is flu, which is an abbreviated form of saying the influenza, oh, that awful stomach virus.dscf2134sm Or it could mean that duct needed to blow the hot air from the furnace. Or, it could mean a fishing net or having to do with an organ pipe. Now that should really confuse everyone, let alone the people who do not have English as their first language.

I love words and all the crazy meanings they have.

I am back. I hope your holiday was good and you are ready to start a new year. I’ll be posting again on Tuesday. Until then…have a great weekend….




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An Arm and A Leg

I really don’t understand charities. Every year at this time, one of the costliest times of the year, everyone wants more. I bet I get about 5-10 letters a week asking for money. If I was not discriminative about who to give to, it would cost an arm and a leg to go through this season, as if it doesn’t already!

Now, really, an arm and a leg! I do not see anyone walking around without an arm or a leg or both gone just because someone had to spend an exorbitant amount of money. That may be the point. How many people would give up an arm or a leg — that’s a pretty hefty price to pay for anything.

Then, there’s “I’d give my right arm” for __________. Not really. There is no way anyone would have their right arm sawed off for any material want. Or, at least, I hope not. But, we use this idiom when we really yearn for something. It really has no meaning because the object of want is usually something that is unattainable. For instance, our 100 year old mother has passed this earth, but you will hear, “I’d give my right arm to talk with my mother again.” It means the yearning is there, but it’s an impossibility. “I’d give my right arm to win the lottery.” Really!!!

broken-bone-clipart-free-cliparts-that-you-can-download-to-you-kwn3we-clipartThen, take “break a leg”. Usually, this phrase is used in theatre as a performer is readying to go on stage. A stage hand may say, “break a leg”, which means good luck. There’s nothing about  wanting someone to really break a leg.

There are superstitions in this world, and “break a leg” is derived from one.  It is considered bad luck to wish someone good luck in theatre, so “break a leg” became a form of saying good luck. Sometimes you will hear it outside of the theater, wishing someone good luck.

While discussing arms and legs, the other one that is sometimes heard, is getting a “leg up” on something. When you a leg up, you know something that others do not know, or you have had a person help you become successful in your endeavors. This is more than mentoring, it is assuring the success of the endeavor. When you have a mentor, you have a trusted adviser, when you have a leg up, you have the help to make the success a given.

So, in the end, I’d give my right arm to break a leg with Hamilton, even though it would cost me an arm and a leg to leg up on that one!

Have a great one…

And Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays to everyone who does not partake in the Christmas scene. Not for certain I will be writing on Friday…



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I’m Tickled Pink

watercolor-1588805_1280I am just so pleased with myself for getting all my projects completed before the end of the year that I am tickled pink.

No, that does not mean that I am being tickled by a pink feather, but it does mean that I am very pleased with my accomplishments. It could also mean that I am entertained with something, such as I am tickled pink that I was able to see the Rolling Stones concert live.

I could have said I am tickled to death and it means the same, being very pleased or entertained, but it’s just me with the word “death”. How in the world can you be pleased about the phrase “tickled to death”? It reminds me of someone who has been tickled to death. Really. Tickled.  To. Death. I wonder if that has ever happened? Being tickled to death. I know I have laughed so hard I could nearly pee my pants and I think that my heart has stopped when I have been tickled, but I don’t die. Or, when I have laughed so hard at a comedy routine or funny story, the same has happened, but I may feel that I am dying, but I am not even close to death. I am greatly amused.

Oh, I just looked up if you could die from being tickled, and yes, it does happen. Ut oh, I better watch it when I laugh that hard. Actually, you die from a heart attack or asphyxiation (basically, this is choking), but it has happened, and this has been reported as early as the Greek days of long ago. You’re never going to believe what this type of death is called? — fatal hilarity. Now that term tickles my fancy.

The term does appeal to me because it actually says what it means. So much of our English language says one thing but means another. That is my purpose of doing this idiom blog. What in the world do we really mean with all our phrases?

I can say, though, that it does tickle my fancy when I can look up the meaning of anything at the flick of my wrist, especially when I am tickled pink about accomplishing all those projects. After this little bit of research, I am going to steer clear of being tickled to death, even though I could use it in the place of tickled pink, but then, you really can die from being tickled. Oh my! I am always learning something.

Have a great weekend…

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